In This Chapter
Identifying measurement systems
Converting from one kind of unit to another
In the early history of civilization, measuring things was probably a key building block helping people move from a nomadic life to one based on farming and living in villages. Common questions then no doubt included things like: "How long is it?" "How much does it weigh?" "What is its volume?" and "What is its area?"
Today people still need answers to the same questions. For example, carpenters, roofers, masons, cabinet makers, and painters use measurements of length (feet and inches) extensively. Chefs and cosmetologists use volume measurements (fluid ounces and cups). Lab assistants use weights and volumes in the metric system (kilograms and liters).
The units for measuring things have helped civilization from its start. They have also plagued each civilization when it traded with the civilization next door and the units of measurement didn't agree. This problem still exists today because two major systems are in use. Some of these units may be plaguing you now. But not to worry. Having two measurement systems isn't a problem when you see how it all works.
In this chapter, you identify the different systems of measurement and see the most common units. Then you review how to convert from one unit to another, whether the units are in the same or different systems.
Today you commonly use two systems of measurement: ...